November 20, 2013
This week I have some odds and end of things to do and things to consider doing in your yard.
I noticed the other morning that there was a moth working its way up the trunk of a tree near the front door of the house. Once I saw it, I knew it was the winter moth. The winter moth is the adult form of the caterpillar that has been doing extensive damage to many of the trees each April. The male and female moths mate at this time of the year and the female lays eggs on the trunk and branches of your trees. Come the spring, the eggs hatch and the caterpillars begin to devour the leaves of your trees. There is some hope that spraying the trees with horticultural oil in the very early spring will help to kill the eggs of this caterpillar. There are also a host of insecticides that you can spray on the leaves of the trees as the new leaves emerge in the spring. If you see moths fluttering around the outside lights of your home or if you see moths fluttering around the windows of your home at night, make a note to treat your trees in the spring. I will remind you of this in the spring, but I figured I would let you know now so that you can take action on this pest in the spring.
We had some rain on Sunday night and into Monday morning. However, the amount of rain we received may not have been enough to get water down to the roots of your plants. We have had a very dry fall and unfortunately plants take up water in the fall to help them to get through the winter. You should be watering your evergreen plants each week right up until the time the ground freezes. Rhododendrons, azaleas, hollies, boxwood and other broadleaf evergreens are particularly at risk for damage from dry winter winds if they do not get sufficient water in the fall. You can also help to prevent damage to these plants by spraying the leaves with an anti-desiccant spray while the temperatures are still above 40 degrees.
Hopefully, you have gotten most of the leaves raked up that have settled on your lawn. Once the leaves are raked up, you should be keeping up with mowing the grass. If the grass remains long going into winter, the blades of grass will fall over and form a mat on the lawn. This mat of long blades of grass creates the perfect conditions for a disease called snow mold. Snow mold will kill off patches of grass. In some cases, the grass will rebound in the spring and in other cases the lawn will need to be reseeded. Until the ground freezes, keep the lawn mower at the ready and keep the blades of grass cut short for the rest of the fall.
Someone asked me if they still had time to apply a fall fertilizer to their lawn. The answer is yes. An application of fertilizer will help the roots to strengthen and the fertilizer will be stored in the roots until spring. In the spring as the soil warms up, the roots will use this stored fertilizer to put up lots of new blades of grass.
You can also apply lime to your lawn at this time of the year. If you haven’t applied lime to your lawn in the past year, now would be a good time to do so.